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Red Cedar wood, Yellow Cedar wood, Operculum shell, Acrylic paint
19 x 14.5 x 14.5"
Born in the Comox Valley in 1961, Doug has carved in the Haida style since he was 16 years of age. He has gained valuable experience by working with such artists as Bill Reid, Don Yeomans, and Glen Rabena. While Doug works in a variety of mediums, his incredibly well-crafted totem poles have garnered him international acclamation.
In 1989 Doug left the Comox Valley to hone his craft with Haida artist Don Yeomans. Together, among other works of art, they created two eight-foot totems, which are now on display in private collections in the United States. While working in Vancouver, British Columbia, Doug began a successful working relationship with Bill Reid, helping him create the “Spirit of Haida Gwaii.” This iconic sculpture, cast in bronze, is located in the International wing of the Vancouver Airport and its image graces the back of the Canadian $20 bill. In 1991 Doug Zilkie was highlighted in the feature book title, ”The Black Canoe” which chronicles the development of this monumental project.
Doug has gained an international reputation as a respected artist, with several notable commissions by the Canadian government. Doug was commissioned in 1991 by the Canadian government to carve and paint two red cedar front doors for the embassy in Tanzania, Africa. And in 1993, his mask titled “Haida Sea Ghost” was acquired for the art collection of the Canadian Embassy in Berlin.
Doug continues to prove a multifaceted and distinctive artist, creating works in a variety of media including wood, bronze, silver, stone and graphics. He is also a highly respected screen printer and has cut the stencils for many prints used in Northwest Coast Native art. As he continues to develop and excel at his craft, his artwork is increasingly sought after by collectors worldwide.
This piece opens to reveal an inner box with relief engraving that echos the outer lid.
Traditionally, boxes were considered prized possessions and customarily used to store wealth or special ceremonial objects such as masks, rattles, clothing and adornments. People often gave names to these beautiful ornate boxes, told stories about their histories and treated them as family heirlooms. However, non-decorated boxes acted as instruments of life – from storing less precious articles, to food and later used for mortuary purposes. In Haida mythology, a stack of boxes contained the essence from which Raven created the world.
Eagle, Dogfish, Beaver and Frog Box retains its traditional elements through conception and imagery. Derek exhibits his mastery in his precision of line and perfect symmetry of the formline of this treasure. The gently angled lid with Abalone inlay, as well as the engraved and incised elements on the box is suggestive of the prototypic bent cornered wooden boxes and chests.
The box contains not only depictions of four important crest animals, but connects to past traditions in which a box held more than the material object, it also linked people to their heritage, lineage and each other.